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Film poster

Film poster.

Gyakuten Saiban (逆転裁判 Turnabout Trial), also known as "Ace Attorney", is a Japanese Legal drama film based on Capcom's Ace Attorney series, specifically the first game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. The film uses the video game series' signature style and was directed by Takashi Miike.[1] The film stars Hiroshige Narimiya as the defense attorney Ryūichi Naruhodō (Phoenix Wright), Mirei Kiritani as the spirit medium Mayoi Ayasato (Maya Fey), and Takumi Saito as the prosecutor Reiji Mitsurugi (Miles Edgeworth).

The film was given a cinema release in Japan on February 11, 2012.[2], but screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam before that.[3] Miike stated plans for an international release, and the movie premiered in the United States at the 2012 AM² anime convention in June 2012.[4]

The screenplay was written by Takeshi Iida and Sachiko Oguchi, with music by Koji Endo. The Japanese male rock band Porno Graffitti provide the film's main theme song ("2012Spark").


Gyakuten Saiban film logo

The logo for the Gyakuten Saiban film.

Based primarily on the first game in the series, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the film focuses on rookie defense attorney Ryūichi Naruhodō (Phoenix Wright), as he strives to protect his clients in various murder trials, including the death of his mentor, Chihiro Ayasato (Mia Fey), and the accusation of rival prosecutor, Reiji Mitsurugi (Miles Edgeworth). Naruhodō's greatest ally is Chihiro's younger sister Mayoi (Maya Fey), a spirit medium whose body is possessed by Chihiro to communicate with him. As well as the supernatural, sci-fi elements are also used, including attorneys bringing up projected images of evidence during trials as a representation of the in-game court record.


Ace Attorney Live Action Movie Poster

The court system, after being overburdened by the sheer number of crimes being committed, introduced a new trial system: The Bench Trial System. In this new system, both the prosecution and defense face each other in open court and have three days to make their case before the judge renders a verdict.

Rookie defense attorney Phoenix Wright defends his friend, Larry Butz, who is accused of murdering Cindy Stone. He was in danger of losing the trial, but his mentor, Mia Fey, presented Stone's passport in order to get an acquittal for Butz. As thanks, Butz gave her a clock shaped like The Thinker. Meanwhile, Miles Edgeworth prosecuted Dee Vasquez for her crimes.

Wright was thrust into the limelight after Fey was murdered via being struck with The Thinker clock. Mia's younger sister, Maya Fey, who came from a family of spirit mediums, stood accused of the crime. Wright faced off against his childhood friend and rival, prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, for the case. The case hinged on the testimony of a witness, Redd White, who claimed to have seen Mia being killed by Maya after the latter went to Mia's office one night. However, White's testimony was put into doubt after Wright pointed out inconsistencies within it, and the defense attorney went on to prove that White was the true murderer via a receipt from a lamp purchase Mia made earlier that day that the witness shouldn't have known about. Maya was subsequently declared Not Guilty.

After getting Maya acquitted, Wright took her in as his assistant. After hearing that Edgeworth was accused of the murder of attorney Robert Hammond at a lake, Wright agreed to take on his case, with the legendary Manfred von Karma acting as the prosecution. Although the available evidence and witness testimony, mostly from a mysterious boat renter, suggested that Edgeworth killed Hammond, the case took an unexpected turn as Wright unravelled a related 15-year-old mystery concerning the DL-6 Incident, which focused on Miles' murdered father, defense attorney Gregory Edgeworth.

Fifteen years prior, Gregory was found murdered in the court's basement evidence locker room. Yanni Yogi, a court bailiff, was initially accused of murdering Gregory after discovering him allegedly tampering with a gun used as evidence in a case, but was coerced by Hammond into pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. The case destroyed Yogi's life; his wife committed suicide, and he became a hermit renting out boats on a lake.

One day, Yogi received a package, prompting him to take revenge on those that destroyed his life: Robert Hammond, and the son of Gregory Edgeworth, Miles. He set up the ruse by luring both Hammond and Miles to the lake, where he murdered Hammond and framed Miles for the crime. After having the truth revealed by Wright, Yogi openly confessed to the plot, but Miles interrupted to confess that he was the one who had actually murdered Gregory, not Yogi. Miles at the time had been a young child, and he claimed that he saw his father tampering with the gun, but blanked out during the confrontation with Yogi and Gregory, leading him to believe that he shot his own father.

This admission by Miles focused new attention on the DL-6 case. Wright managed to prove in court that Miles did not kill his father, and revealed evidence that Manfred von Karma had committed perjury and killed Gregory Edgeworth. However, the murder weapon (the gun that Gregory Edgeworth was thought to have tampered with) was missing; a key piece of evidence. Mia Fey's notes on the DL-6 case and a timely discovery of the bullet that had killed Gregory hidden inside The Thinker clock (which had been used to kill Mia after she hid the bullet inside it) helped to prove von Karma's guilt and solve the cold case.

Wright revealed the truth of the DL-6 Incident: Gregory Edgeworth had been defeated in a case against von Karma due to bullet evidence which had proven a 100% match. However, Gregory had not been satisfied with the result, and so he broke into the evidence room to inspect the gun, which had two remaining bullets. Yogi discovered Gregory holding the gun and, thinking that he was tampering with evidence, confronted the attorney. Miles, following his father, tried to break up the fight by biting Yogi in the arm and throwing the gun to his father, but was knocked unconscious after crashing into some nearby shelving. Von Karma, looking on from the evidence room door, was hit by a stray bullet from the gun that was thrown by Miles, which lodged into his shoulder. Gregory managed to subdue Yogi, but was shot in the back by von Karma.

Wright, using a metal detector, proved that there was a bullet lodged in von Karma's shoulder, and surmised that the bullet used to kill Gregory would match that in von Karma's shoulder, thereby proving the bullet evidence in the original case was faked. Von Karma became incensed at the accusation, and revealed his desire to maintain a perfect conviction record that he would take any measure to preserve. He revealed his set-up of Miles in taking the fall for the death of Hammond, using Yogi and White (the latter being charged with the retrieval of the bullet hidden within The Thinker clock) as pawns in his scheme. He was subsequently arrested for his crimes.

Miles Edgeworth was found not guilty for all charges. Wright vowed to help defend Yanni Yogi, while Maya returned home.

A subplot in the film revolves around the childhood friendship between Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, and Larry Butz. When Wright was accused of stealing classroom money, Edgeworth stepped up to defend him, along with Butz. The event was cited by Wright to Maya as the reason why he became a lawyer. However, the theft itself remained unsolved for many years until timely prodding by Maya near the end of the film revealed that it had been Butz who had stolen the money in order to buy a plastic model.



Takumi Saito as Reiji Mitsurugi/Miles Edgeworth.

Differences from the video game[]

General differences[]


The courtroom machine.

  • Spirits summoned via the Kurain Channeling Technique do not seem to be visible to everyone.
  • Someone in a Blue Badger costume follows often police officers around and helps them with various tasks.
  • A giant machine is concealed in the court's ceiling that can display interactive holograms, analyze evidence thrown into the air, and throw confetti after a Not Guilty verdict. Sometimes the court's janitors are instead the ones throwing confetti while cleaning the floor from a previous trial.
  • Every time someone in court says something exasperating (or in a situation where the player would receive a penalty), everyone else in the courtroom falls over in a comedic style which is often used in anime.
  • The film Miles Edgeworth appears to have a preference for the Jammin' Ninja (instead of being a secret fan of the Steel Samurai like he is in the games).
  • Trials in the film are seen as more of a "sport" or "attraction", where anyone can purchase tickets to see the trial. It also appears that to see a whole trial, three separate tickets are required (corresponding to the bench trials in the games having a limit of three days).
  • The presiding judge for the majority of the movie has hair on his head, while in the games he is bald. He is also far more calm and collected than his, at times, rather comical video game counterpart.
  • The only characters who have a similar breakdown to those in the games are Frank Sahwit and Winston Payne.
  • Maya and Gumshoe, while still having comic moments, are more reserved and serious than their game counterparts.
  • In the movie, Manfred von Karma watched both of the shown cases that featured Miles Edgeworth (the film's adaptations of Turnabout Sisters and Turnabout Samurai). In the game, he does not appear until the fourth case, Turnabout Goodbyes.
  • Manfred von Karma acts far calmer and more reasonable in the movie. He even shakes Wright's hand before Edgeworth's trial begins. Because of this, the judge is not intimidated by him. On the other hand, his game counterpart immediately showcases his arrogance and intimidation tactics as soon as he appears, and even controls the court proceedings and overrules objections.

The First Turnabout[]

  • A judge different from the other cases is assigned to the trial.
  • The courtroom used in this trial is different from the other cases.
  • The murder weapon is no longer a clock made in the image of The Thinker.
  • Mia Fey is the one who presents Cindy Stone's passport as evidence to prove Larry Butz's innocence.
  • Instead of only making two copies of The Thinker, one for Cindy Stone and one for himself, in the movie Butz sells copies of The Thinker at his Gourd Lake shop.

Turnabout Sisters[]

  • April May, the Bellboy, and Marvin Grossberg are never seen or mentioned.
  • Larry Butz appears, despite not being present during the original episode in the game.
  • Detective Gumshoe does not mess up the order of his testimony, and instead mentions the dying message first.
  • In the film, Mia Fey's body is not only lying on the floor but also has blood leaking out from her head wound. In the game, her body was slumped against the wall and the only visible blood is from The Thinker itself and the message implicating Maya as her killer, not from her body itself.
  • Maya wasn't crying over her sister's body like she was in the game, instead the was cowering in a corner and Wright just happened to notice her there.
  • Redd White is a completely different character in appearance, personality, and profession. In the game, he is a smug, confident, flamboyant, and powerful businessman who blackmails various important figures. In the film, he has medium-length black hair and sports a black trenchcoat with sunglasses. He also breaks out a megaphone at one point when he loses his temper towards Wright. The film version is eventually revealed to be a former investigator of the DL-6 Incident who had been manipulated by von Karma. While the film character later dies of poisoning while in detention, no mention is made of White, alive or dead, after the resolution of the case in the game.
  • The evidence hidden in The Thinker in the film is a bullet from the DL-6 Incident (rather than evidence of White's blackmailing), which White fails to steal.
  • Following Wright presenting the receipt, White still refuses the accusation, claiming that all Wright has proven is that he was at the scene, not that he killed Mia, as opposed to Edgeworth requesting another day to check Wright's facts, as in game. Furthermore, despite this standing, the judge still considers Maya's innocence to have been proven, as opposed to Maya being found not guilty after White is forced to confess.

Turnabout Samurai[]

  • The case occurs before Mia Fey's murder and doesn't involve Wright or Maya Fey at all. It is instead presented as an introduction to Miles Edgeworth as he finds Dee Vasquez guilty.
  • Dee Vasquez acts far more crazed and flustered than her reserved and calm game counterpart.
  • Cody Hackins, Penny Nichols, Wendy Oldbag, and Will Powers are never mentioned or shown. While Sal Manella is not mentioned by name or shown, there is mention of a "script writer" associated with Vasquez.
  • There is no mention of Global Studios.

Turnabout Goodbyes[]

Tumblr m9bv5lT2xK1qgr7j0o1 500

Maya speaking out during Lotta Hart's testimony.

  • Butz's Steel Samurai balloon is much larger than in the game.
  • Butz is not dressed as Santa Claus like he is in the game.
  • The stolen money that is at the center of the class trial does not belong to Miles Edgeworth, but to another student entirely. Additionally, Edgeworth does not figure out that Butz is the thief until after Manfred von Karma is arrested.
  • While Maya sets off Lotta Hart's camera with a party popper and later a sneezing fit in the game, it is not even triggered by Maya in the movie, who only attempts to shout at it (which she also attempts in game at first, only for the camera to not also not respond).
  • Hart's camera takes three photos instead of two. Because the camera is set up to take a single picture instead of an entire roll, the additional photo is from the second gunshot that occurred during Miles Edgeworth's meeting on the boat.
  • Hart doesn't lie about taking pictures of Gourdy, nor does she make up the excuse that she was taking photographs of a meteor shower.
  • Maya is not detained after her outburst during Hart's testimony.
  • The police still trust Miles Edgeworth in the movie, while in the game, only Detective Gumshoe seemed to trust him.
  • Wright and Maya's first visit to the caretaker's shack never occurs, including Polly's revelation of Yanni Yogi's link with the DL-6 Incident.
  • The caretaker's shack itself is wildly different in appearance, in that it is in extremely poor condition.
  • Yogi does not pretend to constantly doze off during conversations.
  • While in the game Wright and Maya found the gas tank which Butz used to inflate the Steel Samurai Balloon in a bush, in the movie, Butz found the Steel Samurai balloon still attached to it in the lake.
  • The radio DJ that Butz was listening to during the murder was an older man, rather than a woman (with, in Butz's words, a "real sexy voice").
  • The stun gun attack occurs inside the caretaker's shack immediately after the discovery of Manfred von Karma's instructions by Wright and Maya. The circumstances behind the attack allows the attacker to conceal his identity as the mastermind until Wright's accusation.
  • Von Karma is shot in the left shoulder, instead of the right.
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  • Polly is a sulphur-crested cockatoo instead of resembling a Scarlet Macaw like in the game.
  • Polly's testimony is extended to include her saying, "I love you, Yanni Yogi", since the prior circumstantial evidence does not convince the judge of a pattern.
  • The letter containing the murder instructions are printed instead of being handwritten, and also include a bottle of acid which Yanni Yogi used to burn his fingerprints off.
  • Yogi sees his wife's ghost after his confession. He is the only one to notice her.
  • Although The Thinker was not seen again after the second episode in the game, it was brought back into the courtroom in the movie, which led to the discovery of the second bullet.
  • During the discovery of what happened to the second bullet, Maya actually channels Mia, rather than struggling and failing to do so as she does throughout the episode in the game.
  • The metal detector is provided by Butz instead of Detective Dick Gumshoe.
  • The DL-6 Incident occurs in the Records Room instead of the courthouse's elevator. Rather then panic due to lack of oxygen, the fight between Yanni Yogi and Gregory Edgeworth occurs after the former walks in on the latter and assumes he is trying to rig the handgun evidence from the trial. This causes Miles Edgeworth to believe that his father was the one forging evidence, instead of von Karma. The truth is only revealed when Wright compares the second bullet from the DL-6 Incident with the forged evidence that triggered it.
    • Miles belief that his father forging evidence also caused him to lose his trust of his father, leading to him choosing to be a prosecutor, rather than the resentment of Yanni Yogi being declared innocent.
  • The case on trial between Gregory Edgeworth and Manfred von Karma which ultimately lead to the DL-6 Incident is explored more. Further, Edgeworth suspects that von Karma forged his evidence during the trial, but was murdered by him before he could expose it, as opposed to being murdered due to von Karma's rage over his successful proving of this.
  • While Polly Jenkins was Yanni Yogi's fiancée in the game, she was his wife in the movie adaptation.
  • The film explores the harassment that Yogi received from the public and his neighbors following his acquittal more then the game. This includes showing how his house was vandalized with abuse and threats by his neighbors.
  • Yogi is straight out shown purposefully burning his fingers with acid erase his prints. In the game, the fact that he did this on purpose to hide his fingerprints was just speculation by Wright and was never actually confirmed.
  • Wright mentions that he plans on defending Yogi in court after von Karma's arrest.
  • At the beginning of the final trial day, Yogi's whereabouts were still considered unknown, which causes an impending guilty verdict. This is interrupted by the Blue Badger, after the timely arrival of Gumshoe with Yogi and Polly in tow.
  • Wright is the one who suggests that von Karma pulled the bullet out of his own shoulder, with Maya telling him that this would be impossible, instead of the other way around.
  • There is no enlarged photo, and no contradiction between said photo and the fingerprints on the pistol.
  • Following Hart's cross-examination, with her testimony disproven, Wright immediately suggests that Hammond shot himself. The suggestion that Hammond's death was a suicide is also never proven false. The trial is instead extended for another day, due to this suggestion being considered a valid possibility.
  • Yogi testifies that Edgeworth said, "I never thought I'd shoot someone" when passing by his window, as opposed to, "I can't believe he's dead".

Rise from the Ashes[]

  • The events of Rise from the Ashes are not mentioned or shown.

Other differences[]

  • The trial between Gregory Edgeworth and Manfred von Karma, which resulted in the DL-6 Incident, was about illegal ownership of a firearm, and the forged evidence was the "matching" ballistic markings of the firearm and a bullet. In Ace Attorney Investigations 2: Prosecutor's Gambit, released before the movie, the events surrounding this trial in the game canon were revealed as the IS-7 Incident, and the forged evidence was the victim's autopsy report.

References to other cases[]

Movie Matt

The Matt Engarde and Adrian Andrews cameo during the film's credits.

  • There are multiple references to Farewell, My Turnabout during the film's credits sequence. Butz's Gourd Lake shop and merchandise are re-branded to that of the Jammin' Ninja. A trial is also seen with Wright as the defense attorney, Edgeworth holding the Jammin' Ninja's signature bright red guitar, and with a witness appearing to be Matt Engarde (albeit with a different outfit). A woman resembling Adrian Andrews can also be seen in defendant seat when said witness first appears.
  • The film's arranged version of Objection! 2001 contains a section that is a slower version of "Apollo Justice - A New Era Begins!". The section in question plays during von Karma's arrest in the film.

Cameo appearances[]

  • The film's director, Takashi Miike, appears as a court spectator.
  • Shu Takumi, creator of the Ace Attorney series, can be seen during the fourth case celebrating with Larry Butz.


The film's music was composed by Kōji Endō, known for scoring other films by Takashi Miike. For the soundtrack, Endō chose to utilize various themes by Masakazu Sugimori from the original video game and re-arranged them for a musical ensemble consisting of strings, oboe, clarinet, horn, trumpet, and a choir. Additional background music was also newly composed in this manner. The soundtrack was later released on CD to tie in with the movie.[5] The film's theme song, "2012 Spark", was composed and performed by the Japanese male rock group Porno Graffitti.[6]


The movie earned over US$1,547,000 in its opening weekend, grossing over US$6,145,000 during its theatrical run in Japan.[7] Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku praised the movie, calling it "the best video game movie ever," and "on its own a fun, engaging mystery/comedy."[8] Paul Verhoeven of IGN gave the film a score of 8 out of 10, a "Great" rating, describing it as "explosive, high-camp melodrama, but it manages to work both as a legal thriller and a pitch-perfect adaptation of the game."[9] On the other hand, Jay Weissberg of Variety referred to the film as a "dull production" that was "criminally long and generally lacking in [Miike's] playful visual hyperbole."[10]

Home release[]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 22 August 2012, in Japan.[11] In Spain, the DVD and the Blu-Ray was released on 11 December 2012 in both Spanish and Japanese by the company Selecta Vision.[12] There was a German release of the DVD and Blu-ray in spring 2013.[13] The movie is also available in Australia, via the company Madman.



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